All Through the Night.Fandom:
Silence is golden, but love wins the silver medal.Rating:
I CAN’T STOP
. WHY CAN’T I STOP.
Went with a slightly different format for this one just for shits and giggles; there's one theme for each letter of the alphabet. (I'm sure you can guess at how hard it was to find interesting words for X, Y, and Z.)
Title does not quite come from a famous Cyndi Lauper song
, but I like the song so here it is.
Also, spot the Firefly reference and get no prize whatsoever.#01 - Ambivalent
Blessing or bane, the only thing Regulus is truly sure about when it comes to Shiro is that he makes his life more interesting.
(That, and it helps to have someone else around to do clean-up after he finishes baking.)#02 - Because
“That’s hardly an acceptable answer,” Regulus says to Shiro during a sparring session.
Shiro pouts at him. “If you can use ‘because I want you to’ as a reason for me to come back to you, then I can use ‘because I don’t
want you to’ as a reason for you to never use that throw on me ever again.”#03 - Concern
It isn’t easy to have a son like Shiro. Not that he himself is a troublemaker, by the usual definition of the term. But he makes trouble for troublemakers and that, in turn, only brings more trouble his way. Because of this, Cho-Yee has always believed in her son and supported his choices (albeit not without some serious discussion of them). How else could he weather such a life, if not with the full support of loving parents? Dissuading him from his heart’s path would only bring more pain. Cho-Yee bears the bruises of overprotective parents and has tried her best not to inflict any on Shiro.
But motherhood grows a monster inside a woman, a monster breathing fire full of hopes and wishes. And occasionally it has to roam free to protect its mistress’ progeny.
“How are things with Regulus?” Cho-Yee asks Shiro during one of their phone calls.“Um...they’re going pretty all right. Why?”
“I really don’t think you should be with him.”
The words are as blunt and flat as a wooden board, delivered with all the grace of a common street thug. Cho-Yee knows she sometimes has problems with using the appropriate tone for topics, tiptoeing around the issue of accidentally throwing out someone else’s junk mail while dropping news of a family death as casually as talking about a new school being built. But this? This she means, full stop. She cares for nothing right now except for her son to see the error of his ways.“Yeah...”
Shiro sighs. “Yeah, I know. He’s super weird and antisocial. But he’s a good person deep down, really.”
“Can you really say that for sure? How do you know?”“He’s saved my life on more than one occasion. He lets me live with him without needing me to pay rent. He...Mom, he takes care of me. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but...he really does.”
“To what end?” Regulus had unsettled her the first time she had met him. So cold and distant...did that man know how to smile? How could someone like him possibly know how to make her Shiro smile? “You’re completely dependent on him, aren’t you?”“Not completely! I have a job now!”
“Doing what? How much does it pay?”“It pays enough. Mom, I’m fine.”
“You say that so many times that I’m not even sure you remember what that means.”“I think I’ve spent enough time with Regulus to know what kind of person he is!”
snaps Shiro. “I’ve spent more time with him than you have, at any rate. So I think I’m more than qualified to decide whether I want to date him or not.”
“Sweetie, I’m just concerned. He reminds me of people I used to interrogate — the arrogant types who think they own the world and everyone in it. I don’t like the idea of you being so close with someone like that. He’ll hurt you, if he hasn’t already.”
Another deep sigh. “Things are...complicated. I wouldn’t have imagined myself getting into this, and if you asked Regulus he wouldn’t have imagined this for himself either. But it’s all worked out in the end.”
Cho-Yee doesn’t want to ask Regulus anything except how he managed to ensnare her son. She’ll grant that Regulus is quite handsome, but she doubts Shiro would be so shallow as to fall for that alone. She fears that Shiro’s desperation to find himself has driven him to even more desperate circumstances.
“Just please, please be careful, Shiro,” she begs. “I would rather lose you in the line of duty than in a relationship gone wrong.”#04 - Dismay
“Is something the matter?” asks Regulus, seeing Shiro frowning down at his cell phone.
Shiro tosses it — almost throws it, really — onto the couch. It lands just next to his backpack. “Nothing. It’s nothing.” He makes a beeline for the kitchen, intending to try that cinnamon whiskey Zoniha had gifted him with the other day. “Just that my mom thinks I shouldn’t be seeing you.”
“Mm. I’m inclined to agree with her.”
Shiro pauses halfway down the hall. “You are?”
“Of course not! Why else am I here right now?” Pause. “Well, I mean...I guess she has a point.” She does
, Shiro knows; he just feels like being childish right now. He eyes Regulus suspiciously. “I just didn’t expect you to think so.”
Regulus gives a half-shrug, as he usually does in situations that surely should merit the full gesture. “We are ill-matched in many ways; there’s no point in denying that.”
Shiro swallows, forces his next words out of his throat. “So...what? Are we done, just like that?”
“That’s not what I meant. I’m merely saying that your mother has the right of it.”
Shiro raises his hands in bewilderment. “How are you — ”
“We are talking about two separate issues here. Anyone who believes we should not be together is only assessing the situation accurately. But I have no desire to conform to how things ‘should’ be, if it seems unproductive or pointless.”And that right there is your entire life in a sentence
, Shiro thinks with a faint tinge of amusement, relieved that he has not been unceremoniously dumped. “No, you don’t,” he agrees. “And I’m glad.”
It’s Regulus’ turn to raise an eyebrow. “I didn’t expect you to think so.”
“I do for this particular thing, at least. My brain jury is still out on the remaining ninety-nine percent of you and your life.”#05 - Edge
Shiro breathes a little easier, ethically and morally speaking, as the freelance partner to the famed mercenary Bulzeeb the Black Breath as opposed to merely being the live-in lover of the Crown of the Obsidian Phoenix. But he can’t help but wonder if he crossed the edge into complete lawlessness the moment he first fell for Regulus.#06 - Forward
“Your butt looks great today,” Shiro remarks with only the faintest tinge of red staining his cheeks.#07 - Greeting
“Mornin’, Reg!” Shiro greets as he walks into the kitchen.
“Morning, Shiro,” Regulus responds, with an almost equal amount of cheer.
Their eyes meet at the same time, matching gazes of confusion and incredulity.
“You, uh, feeling all right?” Shiro asks.
Regulus blinks. He puts a hand to his chin. “I feel fine...” he mutters, although he doesn’t sound convinced. “Sort of. I feel fine, but that itself feels wrong. I don’t know how to explain it.” He glances up at Shiro. “I do know that you look cute when your hair’s all messed up like that.” His hand moves to cover his mouth in shock.
Shiro stares at Regulus for a few moments, too stunned to even be flustered.
“I...think we’re gonna be in for a long day,” he says.#08 - Hit
It’s less surprising that someone in Cerbera has put out a hit on Shiro and more surprising that it takes as long as it does. Most surprising is that they manage to incorporate Regulus’ homemade desserts into it.#09 - Insane
“What was it like to go berserk, that first time?” Regulus asks.
Shiro throws him a pained look. “You’re really gonna ask me that?” But he continues without waiting for an answer, leaning back against the couch armrest and swinging his legs up to plop them across Regulus’ lap. “Honestly, I don’t remember a lot about it. My vision went red, my body went hot, and then everything went black for a while.” He scratches at his cheek. “The first thing I clearly remember was waking up on the ground and finding that you’d left. And, uh, wondering what had happened to the landscape. Oh, and I was tired as hell. Tired.
Regulus nods. Less informative than he would’ve liked, but... “Unsurprising, considering what you’d just gone through.”
I go through?” Shiro asks, straightening up a little. “That’s been a hole in my memory for the past five or six years. What the heck did I even do?”
Regulus had watched the metamorphosis happen in front of his eyes, had watched it happen within Shiro’s eyes. The rising panic of a teenage boy convinced he was on the verge of dying had shattered and put itself back together as a being of molten rage and searing chaos, wanting nothing more than to devour whatever lay in its path. He wonders, idly, if that area of the Peace Mountains has grown back in the years since.
“You firewalked,” he says.
“I figured that much,” grumbles Shiro. “I meant, how did I do it? It’s rare for a berserk to get to the point of firewalking, and those who have refuse to talk about it. Or can’t, I guess, if no one else was around to see it.”
“Do you intend to replicate the experience?”
“I could ask you the same thing. Apparently bombers used to go berserk on purpose back in the old days, as a rite of adulthood or something. And they usually came back less broken than most berserks do now. Did you ever try it?”
Regulus shakes his head. “I did consider it, briefly. But it skirts too close to chaos for me to be comfortable with it.”
Shiro looks surprised. “Really?”
“The interaction of chaos with fire, or lightning, or water, is what gives bombers their power. Presumably, the berserk state happens when the balance between the two powers tips in favor of chaos.”
“Huh...” Shiro muses. “They definitely didn’t teach that back in school.” He slumps a little in his seat, hands resting on his stomach. “I wonder if it really is possible to control the berserk state...to get the physical benefits of it without going completely crazy.”
“Is that something you are interested in learning?”
“Well...kinda, yeah. It’d be useful, at the very least.”
Regulus lays his hands on Shiro’s shins, considering the thought. “I will look into it for you.”
Shiro blinks in confusion. “What? I thought you said you weren’t comfortable with it because of the whole chaos thing.”
“I am perfectly fine with investigating the theory behind it first, in order to guide you when you engage in the more practical aspects.”
Shiro wiggles his legs playfully. “I don’t think I should be taking guidance from a guy who turned tail and ran for the hills the first time I lost my mind.”#10 - Job
“I’m a receptionist for the big high school downtown,” says Shiro.
Regulus gives him a disbelieving look. “You would settle for such a menial job?”
“Look, just let me pretend to be a normal person for once in my life, okay?”#11 - Kismet
Shiro can’t help but wonder if the only reason he’s in love with Regulus is because the universe needed a way for him to tolerate being around the man long enough to take advantage of the shadow element’s apparent muting ability.#12 - Loungewear
“I can’t believe you would wear something as ridiculous as that,” Regulus says, referring to Shiro’s T-shirt emblazoned with cartoon characters and smiley face pajama pants.
Shiro just grins. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m secure enough in my manhood to not feel the need to look like a badass when going to bed, Mr. I-Probably-Wear-Jeans-In-the-Shower.”#13 - Madly
Shiro is fairly certain that he went to bed one day grudgingly respecting Regulus and woke up the next madly in love with him.#14 - Necessary
Regulus is careful not to call any attention to his relationship with Shiro, in order to prevent him from being marked as one of his weak links. He shows no affection in public, and lets Shiro fight his own battles as much as possible, intervening only from the shadows or under some practical pretense.
It’s not that Shiro doesn’t understand why Regulus acts the way he does, but sometimes it really does come as a genuine surprise to be reminded that Regulus does, in fact, actually care about him in his own way.#15 - Ogle
He enjoys watching Shiro go about his usual business. There’s nothing sexual in the thrill, most of the time; he just finds it satisfying to know that Shiro is doing okay.#16 - Pessimism
“The voices go away the closer you are to Reg, right?” Zoniha says. “You’re well within your rights to cling to him like plastic wrap.”
Shiro fidgets. “I don’t want to bother him. And I don’t want to get too used to it either, you know? Who knows if this thing we have is gonna last.” His shoulders slump, his gaze falls. “It’s better if I figure out how to deal with this myself.”#17 - Question
The two sit side-by-side with hands clasped on the rooftop of the condominium complex, enjoying the rare view of Lake Hektaion on a clear, sunny day.
“Do you want me to stay this way?” Regulus asks. “Normal, I mean.”
Shiro rubs his thumb along the side of Regulus’ index finger, thoughtful. “I’d rather you make that decision for yourself,” he says after a long silence. “You’re not exactly in your right mind right now, so I don’t want to take advantage of that and say anything to sway you.”
“But Mumzhiram said that these are my true emotions. It’s just that my usual mental blocks on them are gone, or they're amplified or something. So wouldn’t I have the same reactions to your opinion either way?”
“Well, without your mental blocks, I would think you’d be more likely to make decisions based on emotions, not logic. But I’m going to be here no matter what you choose, so you might as well just decide for yourself.”
Regulus frowns. He swats Shiro lightly on the side of his head. “I wish you’d be more selfish. You’re more likely to survive life, and plus it’s hard having to guess at what you actually want.”
Shiro rubs at his head with his free hand. “I don’t like being a burden, is all.”
don’t like making a choice without having some idea of the costs involved. So if one choice or another is going to upset you, then tell me and we can both deal with it one way or another.”
Shiro just shakes his head. “There’s not much to tell. Both choices have their pros and cons.”“Shiro.”
Regulus turns to shake Shiro lightly by the shoulders. “You do so much for me. Let me at least try to do this one thing for you. Which choice do you want me to make?”
Shiro closes his eyes.
“I want you to go back to how you used to be,” he says, touching one of Regulus’ hands lightly. “You need to be strong enough to resist any demons who go after you, and you need to be strong enough to do your work, even if I don’t agree with it.”
Regulus furrows his brow. “But...you’re happier with how things are between us now, aren’t you? I mean, I think I’m making you happier this way. I like being able to be nice to you, you know.”
A weak smile. “I need you to be strong enough to put up with my self-sacrificial bullshit more than I need you to be nice to me.”#18 - Reversal
Hexonos of the Poison Fields slithers menacingly around Shiro, the golden scales of his tail glittering in the firelight. “You have brought only one of the two items I requested,” he says, slitted eyes narrowed.
“There was only the key,” Shiro answers simply. “The lock was destroyed.”
Hexonos’ forked tongue flickers out. “Such a shame.” He doesn’t sound at all sorry. In fact, Shiro would wager that the demon probably knew there was only one item to be found in the first place. “Then that means you can only afford to buy one of these precious lives.” He gestures with a spidery hand — one of four — to the gruesome scene behind him.
Two figures, bloodied, beaten, and partly broken. Oversized fangs nail their hands to the wall above their heads. One figure is a half-conscious Regulus, who meets Shiro’s eyes with an exhausted gaze.
The other is an unconscious little girl, perhaps no more than ten. Golden and silver glyphs on her body reveal her inner nature as an oracle of some sort. Crimson ones reveal demonic attempts to rip such secrets out of her body.
“So,” hisses Hexonos, “which sh — ”
“The girl,” Shiro says, his voice as sharp as a whip crack.
Hexonos tilts his head. “Pardon?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. You were going to ask me to choose, right? Probably with some sort of warning about the fate of the world being at stake? I guess I should’ve let you finish, but I’ve wasted enough time with this game of fetch. Give me the girl and let me save this damn world already.”
Regulus’ tortured screams reverberate in the dungeon walls and in Shiro’s bones as he leaves Hexonos’ domain. He manages to keep himself together up until he returns the lost girl to her parents, after which he spends the next hour or so vomiting in a back alley, shaking and sobbing.#19 - Suggestion
Music can mask the cosmic noise, most of the time, so Shiro has taken to going to bed with a music player and earbuds blaring all sorts of loud tunes. But this particular night brings an unfortunate alignment of celestial spheres, it seems, for not even the heaviest of metal can drown out the things that Shiro would rather not hear about what skitters in the skeleton of the universe.
After what seems like an eternity of staring blankly up at the ceiling waiting for his eyes to droop closed, Shiro gets up from his bed and walks the path down to Regulus’ bedroom. Even just standing outside the door grants him a minor reprieve from the bedlam in his brain.
He pauses a moment, considering what it is he wants to do. It’s a little undignified...but then again, he hasn’t had much in the way of dignity ever since he first moved in here.
So Shiro slides down to the floor with his back pressed against the wall, relishing the relative quiet. With knees to his chest and head in his arms, he only intends to stay there long enough to let himself get sleepy, but the next thing he knows he’s being shaken awake.
“Shiro. Shiro, wake up.”
With a soft groan, Shiro lifts his head and peers into the darkness, though he has no need to identify the speaker that way.
“What are you doing?” Regulus asks.
Shiro yawns. “The voices are bad tonight. Not sure why. Music isn’t helping. I just needed it to be quiet enough to start getting sleepy.”
He buries his head in his arms again. A few moments pass before Regulus speaks again.
“Get up and get inside,” he says.
Shiro glances up again, not sure he’s heard correctly. “What?”
“Things are quieter the closer you are to me, aren’t they? Go to my room and wait for me.”
Shiro shakes his head. “It’s fine. I’ll manage.”
“It wasn’t a suggestion. Get up or I will drag you there myself.”
As Shiro shuffles into Regulus’ bedroom, he suddenly realizes that he’s never been inside it until now. He’s surprised to find that the walls are white, but the proliferation of dark furniture and bedsheets does, at least, confirm guesses he only vaguely held up to this point. Cautiously, as though he were trying not to wake someone else, Shiro slips into the full-sized bed, stationing himself as close to the far edge as possible so as not to get in Regulus’ way.
When Regulus joins him again, however, he doesn’t hesitate at all in sliding up to Shiro and pulling him close with an arm around his waist.
“Better?” he asks.
It takes an overwhelming effort for Shiro not to sob with relief at remembering what true silence sounds like.
“Yes,” he whispers, and falls headlong into sleep.#20 - Talisman
Shiro’s lone piece of jewelry is a plain platinum ring infused with shadow energy worn on the index finger of his right hand. While it doesn’t mute the voices and songs as strongly as Regulus’ presence does, it helps enough when he’s at his new job, allowing him to tell real voices apart from the equally-as-real-but-less-corporeal ones.
Something about wearing the ring also makes him stupidly happy, but he’d rather not spend time thinking about what that means for him.#21 - Understanding
“That poor kid sacrifices so much to be by your side,” Zoniha says to Regulus, and he wonders at the tense of her phrasing.#22 - Validation
He clings stubbornly to a recovering Regulus, face buried in Regulus’ shirt. “I wish I didn’t have to leave you back there with that bastard,” he mumbles.
Regulus lays a bandaged hand on Shiro’s head, the movement stiff from injury and exhaustion. “What’s done is done, and I don’t hold it against you.” He allows himself a faint smile, away from Shiro’s eyes. “In truth, I was very impressed. You refused to give Hexonos the satisfaction of your torment. He had been quite disappointed when you left.”
“And he took it out on you.”
“He did.” Regulus lets his chin rest on Shiro’s head and moves his hand to Shiro’s back. “But I have survived, and I am proud of you. So stop with this nonsense at once.”
Shiro loosens his grip a little, then, but the tears begin anew.#23 - Warn
“With all due respect, Krohnei
,” says Solteira in the privacy of her office, “I will not hesitate to take Shiro down if I think he poses a genuine threat to the Phoenix.”
“I would not have it any other way,” Regulus responds.#24 - XenoglossiaWhat happened to me?
an incapacitated, mute Shiro scribbles on the notepad Regulus gives him.
“Hazuiah used your body as a vessel to close the portal,” Regulus explains.So what does that have to do with my throat being messed up?
“Mortal mouths were not meant to sing the necessary songs for such a procedure.”Starting to think that seraphs don’t have the best judgment.
“I agree.”#25 - Young
Regulus is over a century old at this point, with a fairly robust collection of life experiences, but he only ever starts feeling old whenever Shiro comes home looking like a drowned kitten after some heroic venture or another.#26 - Zillion
“Don’t worry, Reg,” Shiro chirps. “I’ve got a zillion problems, but only a billion of them involve you.”This entry was originally posted at http://cinnamonicles.dreamwidth.org/51005.html. Please comment there using OpenID.